Garden Song

 

An hour of toil in the garden,
Is always time well-spent,
Tugging out those stubborn old weeds,
Which year upon year won’t relent.

An hour spent tending the garden,
Is never wasted time,
Lungs full of wonderful, fresh Spring air,
Hands caked in dirt and grime.

It’s hard to feel glum in the garden,
Birds chirping high in the trees,
Potting up Pansies so cheery and bright,
Hair tugged about on the breeze.

Cutting the deadwood, and turning the earth,
Allowing the sun to get through,
Seems to clear my cluttered mind,
And lifts my spirits too.

Thank you Lord for my garden,
Humble and small though it be,
It’s a place where so often I’ve felt You are near,
And Your joy surrounding me.

Once You knelt down in a garden,
And in terrible anguish You cried,
“Thy will, not mine be done, Oh Lord!”
Abandoned. Betrayed. Denied.

One Sunday morn in a garden,
The Son of God rose from the grave,
Bringing redemption and mercy and grace,
To the ones He came to save!

 

Toby’s Tale

 

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Toby (left) and Cleo (Right) on the day we adopted them.

 

I’m so grateful to God this morning!

On Thursday night, one of our year-old Grey Rescue Tabbies, disappeared.

I was a little concerned on Friday morning, when I opened the back door, and only Cleo came running in for her breakfast.  Where was Toby?

I had that real sinking feeling when I returned from work, and there was still no sign of him.

My girls and I pulled on our shoes and went off round the block to look for him, searching every little alleyway and the path down by the allotments, calling his name the whole time.

Not a whisker!

We returned home with heavy hearts.

Saturday morning came.  No Toby.  Sunday morning….This wasn’t looking good.

 

I went out for a walk and began to pray – when the words from a Psalm began to buzz around my head:

For You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing – Psalm 145:16

Every living thing!  Not just people…that meant Animals too!

It was a beautiful morning, bathed in warm sunlight.  The trees were alive with the chirping of birds.

I stopped and noticed a Sparrow.

Didn’t Jesus talk about the Sparrows too?

Are not five sparrows sold for five farthings?  And yet not one of them is forgotten by God – Luke 12:6

Not one Sparrow is forgotten!

Wow!

Comforted by these scriptures, I was able to pray with faith.  If God cared about the tiny sparrow, then surely He cared about our Toby!

As the warm sunrays beamed down on my face, it felt like God was reminding me of the sheer magnitude of His faithfulness.  I don’t think we’ve even begun to grasp it!

The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time.  You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.

If God makes sure the creatures of the earth are fed, then how much more will He take care of us?!

Suddenly it hit me.  I knew that God’s eye was on Toby.  I knew that God was more than able to protect him and bring Him safely home.

 

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Butter wouldn’t melt…

 

It was just before 6:00a.m. this morning, when my husband heard a familiar miaow-ing coming from our back garden.  God had answered our prayers.

The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds…

I want to remind you this morning, that God is so much kinder than we realise.  He truly is a good, good Father.  He is tender-hearted and compassionate and gracious!  He cares about the things that hurt us.  He cares about our difficult days and our stressful circumstances and our lost Tabby Cats!

 

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He cares so much more than we realise.

 

 

This Is Jesus!

Story-Teller,  (Matt 13:34)

World-Holder,  (Heb 1:3, Col 1:17)

Sky-Painter,  (Psalm 19:1)

Man-Moulder!  (Gen 2:7)

 

Storm-Stopper,  (Matt 8:27)

Star-Breather,  (Psalm 33:6)

He’s The Alpha and Omega!  (Rev 1:8)

 

Wave-Walker,  (Matt 14:25)

Debt-Payer,  (Rom 6:23)

Rock, Redeemer,  (Psalm 78:35)

What a Saviour!  (Luke 2:11)

 

Cross-Bearer,  (John 19:17)

Grave-Breaker,  (Luke 24:2-3)

Key-Holder,  (Rev 1:18)

Earth-Shaker!  (Heb 12:26)

 

Life-Changer,  (2 Cor 5:17)

Truth that frees us,  (John 8:32, John 14:6)

Coming King,  (Rev 22:7, Rev 22:12, Rev 22:20)

THIS IS JESUS!

 

My kids and I had a go at writing a ‘Kenning’ style poem about Jesus a few years ago.  This is what we came up with!  Hope it blesses you today.

Risen!

He is risen

Very early,

Sunday morn,

Grief rising up like a gathering storm.

Day-break,

Hearts ache,

As the weight of it all begins to dawn.

 

Thorns, nails,

Mournful wails,

Laid in a tomb that wasn’t His own,

Laden with spices,

We make our way,

Not even knowing who’ll roll back the stone.

 

Earth quake,

Guards shake,

Heavenly beings in dazzling white,

Our hearts pound with fear,

Too scared to draw near,

We bow to the ground at this dazzling sight!

 

“You needn’t fear!

He isn’t here!

“Why search for the Living among the dead?

Hurry, go!

Let everyone know –

That Jesus is risen, just as He said!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Give Up!

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Beautiful Agapanthus

 

For as the earth brings forth its sprouts and as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations” – Isaiah 61:10-11

I’ve been praying and longing to see Revival in the UK for many years now.  Perhaps you’ve been praying for your nation too?  Or perhaps you’ve been praying for years to see someone come to faith.  If so, I want to encourage you today!

One morning, a few years back, I was talking to one of my daughters about how committed I am to praying for revival in this land.  Just before rushing out of the door to school, she looked at me, a little perplexed and said something along the lines of:

“Mum, this world is so awful.  I’m not sure that one person can make that much difference…”

(But more of that story later!)

When I inherited the garden in our current home, it was literally two strips of weedy,  unyielding earth.  The soil was full of stones.  The ‘garden’ had not plant nor flower, just hundreds of very deep rooted weeds.

The only thing it did have, was potential…it was a blank canvass really.

So, determined to have a garden, I began.  Digging, weeding, removing stones.  It was pain-staking, back-busting!  I tried adding sand into the heavy clay soil in order to improve the claggy, ‘stick-to-your-boots’ consistency.  I bought bags of rich compost and literally poured them into the beds, digging and turning the earth again and again, to try and provide a more habitable environment for plants and flowers.  The groundwork took time.

But eventually the condition of the soil improved.

Then came the long job of buying and trying – going to garden nurseries and coming home with car boots full of perennials and shrubs.  I remember placing the plants in the soil – and frankly, being a bit underwhelmed.  These puny little plants would just look so insignificant, so small in all that earth!  They didn’t make much impact.  They certainly didn’t look like the garden magazines I had been browsing through!

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Pretty depressing!

Was all this hard work ever going to be worth it?

Fortunately for me, my mum’s garden is full of flowers!  So much so, that she was able to give me clumps of Geranium and Sedum from her own beds.  Every now and then she’d pop round with a tub full of Iris or Day Lilly – and we’d dot them around as fillers.

All of this activity went on for several years.  Planting things.  Trying things.  Moving things.  If I’ve learned one thing about gardening – it’s this:  No pain, no gain.

But then suddenly…years down the line, you begin to see your garden taking shape.  Suddenly, there’s colour and form.  People start to notice: “Isn’t your garden looking lovely?”  But best of all –  you notice!  One warm summer’s evening, you sit outside,  sipping a mug of tea, realising that all your hard work is starting to pay off.  And you smile…because somehow, the fact that it took time, years even, makes it all the more rewarding.  I tended this garden!  I kept going year after year, even though – to start off with – nothing much seemed to change.

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Yes, it’s the same flower bed!

Looking back, all those years that I’ve spent tending my garden, have run parallel to the years that I’ve spent praying for this Nation.  Isn’t God great?  Don’t you just love the way He weaves the natural and the supernatural together to teach us things?   What a prophetic picture lies within all of this toil!

Because the thing is…whatever you sow into a garden, you’ll eventually reap.

Put in a Climbing Rose and come July, you’ll have Climbing Roses!  Plant a pot full of Daffodil and Tulip bulbs in September, and POP – there’s your first bit of early spring cheer!  Fill your low wall with Geraniums, and hey presto – Geraniums it is!

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Today I want to remind you of the wonderful principle that  God has set in motion.  Sowing and reaping.

“Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.  He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him!” – Psalm 126:5-6

I know that if you’ve sown seeds of prayer for your nation, or your loved one’s salvation – perhaps tears at times – then no matter how long, no matter how many years it takes, some day, one day…you will see your reward.

If you’ve been praying – particularly for revival or salvation –  and you’re on the verge of giving up…please don’t!   One fine day, when you least expect it, you’ll turn around and your garden will be filled with beautiful blooms!  And what a wondrous reward it will be – the fruit of all your labours!

Can I tell you the rest of the story about my daughter?   A few days later she came downstairs in the morning and said: “Oh by the way mum, I had a dream about you last night….”

“Go on,” I said, intrigued.

“You were trying to start a fire by rubbing sticks together,” she said.  “At first nothing was happening.  But you didn’t give up.  Then all of a sudden, there was a spark, and then the whole thing just burst into flame!”

My mouth was almost agog as she added:

“And I think it’s to do with you praying!”

So today, here’s God’s message to you (and me):  Keep going!  Don’t you dare give up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zacchaeus

How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! – Psalm 32:1

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So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a Sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way…Luke 19:4

 

The streets of the city were crowded that day,

The Teacher was coming – He was heading this way.

My heart leapt within at the sound of His Name,

This man who healed lepers, the blind and the lame.

 

But the crowds all around me were blocking my view,

And try as I might, I just couldn’t push through.

Not much to be said for my stature – it’s true,

So I ended up right at the back of the queue!

 

Then ahead of the crowds in the distance, I see,

Down the long dusty road,

There’s a Sycamore Tree,

I was desperate to see Him,

It had to be done,

I kicked up the dust and I started to run!

 

My robes snagged on branches as I scrambled up high,

And I hoped, against hope, that He’d not pass me by,

Still my heart skipped a beat when He stopped by that tree,

And He peered through the leaves,

Looking straight up at me!

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What would He say to a man such as me?

What was I doing here?

How could it be?

That this wonderful stranger should call me by name?

In that moment, I knew, I would not be the same.

 

The people were outraged- He was going to eat,

At the home of Zacchaeus, the swindler, the cheat!

But whenever He spoke, all my pride fell apart,

And something was changed in the depths of my heart.

The tears started falling, my heart overflowed.

I would pay it all back, every penny I owed.

I would give it all gladly,

I would do anything,

For this wonderful Man,

For this beautiful King!

 

The love that He showed me,

The grace that He gave,

Swept over my being, like wave upon wave,

What joy filled my soul, and what gladness within,

When the Son of God cleansed me,

From all of my sin.

 

 

 

 

 

Abundant!

 

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This morning, a well known image kept coming to mind.  It was that picture of a half filled glass of water, and that all important question….is the glass half full or half empty?

What do you think?

Well, before I’d even had time to ponder the answer, I sensed God’s smiling response:

“That question is completely irrelevant in my Kingdom!  When I fill a cup, it overflows!”

Ha!  Isn’t that wonderful?!

You have anointed my head with oil, my cup overflows! – Psalm 23:5

There are no half measures with God!  Nothing about Him is ever stingy or miserly or half hearted!  Everything about Him is abundant and lavish and overflowing!  What a joy!

I felt today that God wanted to remind me, and maybe some of you, of His absolute abundance!  In Him there is no lack.  He is great in might.  He is awesome in power, He is abundant in loving-kindness!  He really, really is a GREAT BIG GOD!

Feast your heart on a few of these ABUNDANT truths today – if necessary speak them out loud over your circumstances:

GREAT is the Lord and mighty in power.  His understanding has no limit – Psalm 147:5

But You O Lord, are a God, merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness – Psalm 86:15

Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary and His understanding no one can fathom – Isaiah 40:28

Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgements and His ways are past finding out! – Romans 11:33

Your loving-kindness O God extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.  Your righteousness is like the mountains of God.  Your judgements are like a great deep – Psalm 36:5-6

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love for those who fear Him.  As far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us – Psalm 103:11-13

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.  His mercies never come to an end.  They are new every morning.  Great is Your faithfulness! – Lamentations 3:22-23

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;  for His loving-kindness is everlasting – Psalm 118:1

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, and that you, being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up with all the fullness of God.  Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.  Amen – Ephesians 3:14-21

What an amazing God!